New Zealand has lost one of its literary benefactors within days of making one of her last endowments. Dianne Beatson, of Palmerston North, died on Sunday night, shortly after NZ Society of Authors selected Dunedin poet, writer and teacher Diane Brown as recipient of the 2014 Beatson Fellowship.
The fellowship, a one month stay at Dianne Beatson’s Foxton Beach residence with a $7000 stipend, has been endowed for 13 years by Peter and Dianne Beatson whose interest in supporting New Zealand writing led them to set up the fellowship in 2001.
Dianne Beatson played her usual active part in the awarding of the 2014 Fellowship, working with Peter Beatson to identify a shortlist of six from an impressive 27 applications from mid-career and established writers. She and Peter were thrilled to hear the judge’s unanimous decision.
NZ Society of Authors President of Honour Gavin Bishop, for the panel of judges, says: “It was an easy and unanimous decision to chose Diane Brown for the 2014 Beatson Fellowship. The shortlisted applicants were all worthy of winning this fellowship, but Diane stood out. The judges are sure she will make excellent use of her time at the Foxton cottage.
“Dianne and Peter Beatson’s continued generosity has played a big part in our literary heritage, providing time and space for writers to work. In turn the literary memorabilia and books, donated by resident writers acknowledging their time at the cottage, has grown into a valuable collection of literary Kiwiana which tracks the development of New Zealand writing.”
Diane Brown was delighted to hear she was the recipient of the 2014 Fellowship. “This will certainly make my Christmas a bit more merry.”
She plans to use the time at the beach to work on a new collection of poetry. “I teach creative writing and have not had the luxury of time to focus purely on my own work. This will take some pressure off. It will be absolutely wonderful to have some time in a new space to gather my thoughts, to walk, to read and think without interruption. I am very grateful to the Beatson Fellowship.”